When You're Jealous of Friends Who Don't Need Medication to Feel 'Normal'

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

Imagine this.

When you’re at the pharmacy you feel like you’re at a drive through window ordering takeout for the whole car.

“And is that all?” The pharmacist asks, when you still have six medications left to ask for.

“No” you say sheepishly as you hand over your scribbled list of medications. You need these.

She raises her eyebrows for a millisecond. She thinks you didn’t see. But you did.

When your friend asks for help packing, and you start naming things off they could be missing: socks, pajamas, underwear, prescription medications…

“Oh” they say, interrupting your laundry list.“I try not to take any prescription medications. I like to know what’s going in my body.”

You wonder what that ignorance — that privilege — is like.

When your other friend complains about always forgetting to take their birth control pill, and how difficult it is to take something at the same time every day.

“Yeah,” you say, as you nod your head in agreement. You refrain from reminding her of your need to remember your pills in the morning, before lunch, after dinner, and the ones that calm your thoughts enough so you can eventually fall asleep. You wish you could switch regimens and only have to take a single oral contraceptive at one single time slot from now on.

You’ve developed this gag reflex from so many swallows, so now you can only take your meds with milk, water makes you want to throw them up. Your mom is convinced that plugging your nose helps them go down. Sure, maybe for one Tylenol. But not nine uncoated and chalky pills in a row.

Sometimes you’re angry that your body is inherently missing something that everyone else is able to manufacture on their own. That the labor of their factory is free and that yours requires imports and duties in the form of little round canisters, listing off the amount of times you’re allowed to get them filled up, the amount of times someone in a white coat is able to prescribe you happiness in a bottle. It just doesn’t seem fair.

But then you remember the nights without the pills. How sleep came too quickly, too easily. When being awake was work. Required effort. And irritability was your constant companion. The days when your thoughts were so quick that nothing, not even the sleep that used to come so easily, could put your mind at ease. The dark times — the times you don’t want to remember. Where in your head they’re shrouded, in clouds and black curtains. Those are the memories that scare you the most, the ones of the way you felt before the pills. And now even though you complain after doctors visits and pharmacy refills and minor inconveniences during the day where you may have to swallow something with a chalky texture that gets stuck in your throat, you remember you are lucky.

You are so so lucky to feel even a quarter of what “normal” people feel. But you’re still allowed to be pissed off. But the grateful thing is easier. Because you remember that for some reason, ever since you began to rely on these pills, the sun seems to be shining a whole lot brighter these days. And you’ll take these days, the ones with the sun, over the clouded and curtained days, any day of the week. And that requires gratitude.

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Getty Images photo via fizkes

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